Over ten years old now, the name Hilary Duff is likely familiar to anyone who watched her grow up or in some ways, grown up “with her.” This film, from the then titled ABC Family network, might not be intended for the same audience, but nevertheless is still pretty fun.
Beauty & the Briefcase (2010) ABC Family TV Film Review
Freelance writing is the best Lane (Duff) can do right now. Aspiring to be a fashion journalist, she sells her first piece to HerStyle magazine. HerStyle is a small publication that’s a step in the right direction to her ultimate dream, which is to work for Cosmopolitan. Her friend, Joanne (Amanda Walsh) has a connection to the popular fashion name and gets her an interview with the editor, Kate White (Jaime Pressly). Unimpressed with Lane’s pitches, inspiration suddenly strikes when the two women find common ground on lack of eligible men.
This leads Lane to work undercover in the business world while trying to find love in the workplace. Writing a piece on finding love is easy, but falling in love within the major finance firm she’s hired at, is a different story. Her by the books boss, Tom (Michael McMillian) hasn’t a clue what Lane’s real purpose is. Meanwhile, Lane tries to follow the rules including her one stipulation to date only men in suits. When she meets the seemingly perfect Liam (Chris Carmack), a guy who meets all her requirements, Lane is smitten. Her boss however is not. So it’s time for Lane’s creative writing to take shape; use the name of fellow co-worker, Seth (Matt Dallas) but continue dating Liam.
When I see a movie where the better part of it revolves around fashion, I always assume that the wardrobe will be awesome. This is why it’s surprising to find that most of the actress’ don’t look attractive in some of the ensembles. They’re either ill-fitting or horribly outlandish. I understand why Lane dresses so differently than the Cosmo editor but is such contrast necessary? She rarely looks “professional,” the supposed look that she wants to convey. But then, in the scheme of the film, that’s pretty minor.
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ABC family likes their cute romantic comedies. Hilary Duff’s name fits and is often associated to the genre from her long-running role as Disney kid. Prior to seeing this, probably the last I saw her in is A Cinderella Story (perhaps in homage to that role, Jennifer Coolidge makes a cameo appearance here). This also marks the first adult-orientated role I’d seen her in, and she does a fine job. Her leading men are all appropriately charming and good-looking. Chemistry is missing to some degree but this movie can get away with it, because it’s a silly little fairy tale. Most the movie retains a decent but not unchangeable script, although Lane’s voice-over conscious does become a little old. That idea likely comes from this being based off a “diary” novel. One does get used to it, making that filming annoyance more of a petty complaint.
Those of us who like Confessions of a Shopaholic or How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days will find this a fun little film; it’s perky without being too youthful. Guessing who Lane’s “magic man” is (as she refers to her ideal guy) is kept under a pretty shroud. Still the hasty realization of who “the one” is gets a little sappy and the fact that the course of a few minutes is going to immediately change Lane’s principle on me, is highly unlikely. Nonetheless, it leads to a romantic (although it all comes about at the most inopportune time and place) declaration. Whether it’s just seeing Hilary in something after several years or the plot, I don’t know, but I like this. It’s something that is the perfect “girl’s night” comedy.
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Content: The boss ogles Lane when she leans over to pick something up (cleavage showing). There’s lots of inappropriate clothing. Lane and her girlfriends subtly talk about sex (Joanne remarks that she heard them); later we see a guy in his boxers when they’re obviously going to spend the night together. There’s various other innuendo (“make up sex”). Lane isn’t shy about flaunting her body to ensnare a date; her boss tells her to get one with Seth. There are suggestions of homosexuality. During a night in, the girls play a game of “Go Fish” with photos of various parts of men’s naked bodies (torso, arms, butt, etc.). “Oh my God!” is probably the main extent of language, but there may be a few others littered about. Beauty & the Briefcase is PG-13.
Photos: ABC Family